At lot of this in-fighting within parties might be ended if we didn't have a two-party system. I wish we had several more parties so that coalitions could be made. I think most of us would feel part of something we truly believe in rather than lukewarm support we sometimes feel (and could not fathom supporting the other side).
But we don't. We are allowing our country to devolve into one where someone like Romney can honestly say he will run a clean campaign (but he's fine if others can do the dirty work during it). Meaning, we have some PACS, some groups that are just going to grind everyone else into the ground, either through death by a thousand paper cuts (see: the teachers unions) or by the might of their money (see: candidates who need dough to run for office).
To whit; ALEC. Yes, I know many of you have spoken of this group and I've been listening and reading all along. They are probably the single most dangerous group in the country and people are finally wising up to them.
Who They Are
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is the nation’s largest nonpartisan individual membership association of state legislators, with over 2,000 state legislators across the nation and more than 100 alumni members in Congress. ALEC’s mission is to promote free markets, limited government, and federalism throughout the states.
It was started 30 years ago during the Reagan administration. They have corporations represented on all their task forces who vote on the bills to get passed.
What kind of bills? Health care, workers' rights, corporate power, tax policy, vouchers, voter ID and elections laws, environment (obstruction of protections),
A New York Times report on Shook Hardy said “tobacco is their middle name,” and the firm’s lawyers have been viewed as “industry propagandists, apologists and co-conspirators.”
Unbelievably, they are not considered a lobbying firm and do not have to register.
Their tagline: Limited Government Free Markets Federalism
From Wikipedia:Each corporate member pays an annual fee of between $7,000 and $25,000 a year, and if a corporation participates in any of the nine task forces, additional fees apply, from $2,500 to $10,000 each year. ALEC also receives direct grants from corporations, such as $1.4 million from ExxonMobil from 1998-2009.
What They Do
They are funded by largely by corporations like WalMart. They write and promote legislation throughout the country. From WAMM Today:
ALEC members introduce the bills in statehouses as their own brilliant ideas—without disclosing that corporations pre-voted on them with politicians behind closed doors at ALEC resort meetings. ALEC boasts that it has over 1,000 of these bills introduced by legislative members every year, and more than 20% become legally binding.
They are, of course, very interested in public education especially now with the possibility of for-profit charters (and charters run by for-profits) as well as vouchers
Here's what they think of teachers ( from their Score Card on Education report):
Britain's enemies overreached, invading the Soviet Union and attacking the American fleet at Pearl Harbor. Finally, British forces defeated the German army in Egypt, securing their hold over the strategically vital Suez Canal. Prime Minister Churchill recognized the turning point:
"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. Henceforth Hitler's Nazis will meet equally well armed and perhaps better armed troops. Hence forth they will have to face in many theatres of war that superiority in the air which they have so often used without mercy against others, of which they boasted all round the world, and which they intended to use as an instrument for convincing all other peoples that all resistance to them was hopeless.
We mean to hold our own."In case you missed it, the Nazis are teachers and the English are ALEC.
Who Supports Them (or gets help from them)
-the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, one of the most visible corporate charter groups who has received millions from the Fed (via states who get grants). Well the NACSA just got outed by Republic Report and are now letting their "subscription to ALEC expire". From the NACSA statement:
Our work with ALEC has been focused entirely on promoting excellent charter schools. As part of our annual review processes, however, we determined that alternative strategies would be more effective in achieving these policy objectives. Thus we will not be renewing our membership in ALEC when it expires next month.
Who has disassociated themselves from them?
- Senator Nan Orrock (D-Ga) - Penn Reps Kate Harper (R), Sandra Major (R),
- Senator Greg Cromer (R-La) Mark Mustio (R),Harry Readshaw (D), Senator
- Senator Mike Colona (D-MO) John Pippy (R)
- Senator George Munoz (D-NM) - Rep. Ted Vick (D-SC)
- Rep. Jennifer Selig (D-UT) - Rep. Kevin Van De Wege (D-WA)
- a raft of Texas reps (mostly Dems) and Nebraska senators in their respective legislatures
- Yum! Brands (owners of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut)
- the Gates Foundation
- Lexis-Nexis - Coke - Pepsi
- Intuit - Wendy's - Mars
- Arizona Public Service - Blue Cross - Proctor & Gamble
And ALEC is running scared.
What Can You Do?
Follow the ALEC Exposed website for current information.
- Attend this rally
We need to take a stand against conservative corporate special interests writing our laws and setting our priorities. We’re visiting Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting to take this message straight to their executives and top decision makers. Will you join us on Thursday, May 24 to tell Amazon to stop supporting ALEC and denounce its right-wing agenda? Click below for more details and to sign up:
Rally outside Amazon's shareholder meeting, Thursday, May 24th, 8:30 am.